South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable (SALA-35), INALCO-Paris, October 29-31, 2019

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Meeting Description:

We are pleased to announce that the 35th South Asian Languages Analysis Roundtable (SALA-35) will be hosted by the National institute of oriental languages and civilizations (INALCO), 65 rue des Grands Moulins, Paris, France on October 29-31, 2019.

Call for Papers:

General session: We invite abstracts for individual presentations, posters as well as workshop proposals till February 17, 2019. We welcome submissions which report on current research on South Asian languages pertaining to one or more of the following topics: Phonetics and Phonology; Morphology and Syntax; Semantics and Pragmatics; Descriptive studies; Comparative and typological studies; Cognitive and psycholinguistic studies; Language contact; Sociolinguistics; Historical linguistics and language change; Computational linguistics; Corpus and quantitative linguistic studies; Language endangerment, preservation and documentation; Language learning, acquisition, and teaching; Language policies; Minority languages, etc. With questions concerning general session, please contact the SALA organizer (Ghanshyam Sharma) at

In addition to the General Session, SALA-35 will feature two special sessions.

Special theme Session 1: Ellipsis in South Asian Languages - Emily Manetta, University of Vermont, USA

The study of ellipsis, an instance of meaning in the absence of form, has been one of the most productive research domains in theoretical linguistics over the last half century (Ross 1969; Sag 1976; Hankamer 1979; Chung et al 1995; Merchant 2001; Fox and Lasnik 2003; among many others), resulting in far-reaching insights that concern all aspects of the grammar – syntax, semantics, and phonology. Languages of South Asia have a vital role to play in this ongoing work -- languages often morphologically rich, with comparative freedom of word order and varied agreement systems can provide new insights into the underlying form of an elliptical construction. Work by linguists of South Asian languages has also made an outsized contribution to the study of the syntax-semantics interface and unbounded dependencies (e.g. Mahajan 1990; Kidwai 2000;  Bhatt 2002, 2003; Butt 2003; Dayal 2006, 2016), forming a foundation from which to deepen our understanding of how material goes missing. Recent research has engaged constructions such as sluicing (Mahajan 2005; Simpson and Bhattacharya 2003; Gribanova and Manetta 2016), gapping (Jayaseelan 1990; Kush 2016), and argument and verb phrase ellipsis (Takahashi 2013; Simpson, Choudhury, and Menon 2013; Manetta, to appear), and has entered into wider debates concerning the displacement processes that may feed ellipsis. For this themed session on Ellipsis in South Asian languages we invite contributions based in any framework or analytical tradition which probe the syntactic, semantic, or phonological characteristics of ellipsis in South Asian languages. We welcome excellent descriptive work on elliptical phenomena in understudied South Asian languages, as well as comparative and analytical approaches which bring data from South Asian languages to bear on questions of current theoretical interest. With questions concerning this call, please contact Emily Manetta (University of Vermont), at


Special theme session 2: South Asia as a “Sprachbund”? Advances in the study of language contact in South Asia -John Peterson, Kiel, Germany

Work on South Asia as a “language area” or “Sprachbund” dates back at least to Bloch (1934), although it did not reach a larger linguistic audience until the appearance of Emeneau’s (1956) seminal study. Since then, an extensive literature on this topic has appeared, with different suggestions as to which features should be compared throughout the subcontinent and how to define these. Much of the literature, however, has also been quite skeptical of the idea that all of South Asia is internally homogeneous enough – but also different enough from neighboring regions – to be considered a “language area” in any meaningful sense of the term (cf. e.g. much of the discussion in Masica, 1976), and a growing number of specialists in contact linguistics are calling the usefulness of the notion of a “language area” for contact linguistics into question (cf. e.g. the discussion in Enfield, 2005: 190).

Most studies following Masica’s landmark work on language contact in South Asia increasingly focus on so-called “micro-areas” of possible language contact in the subcontinent rather than on South Asia as a whole, and a number of such regions have been suggested, including northeastern India, the region from eastern Nepal southwards to Udisha, the Hindu-Kush-Karakorum region, and others. A general consensus which appears to be emerging among researchers within this approach is that many if not most or even all of these micro-regions overlap with neighboring micro-regions, so that one region gradually merges into neighboring ones, once again calling the validity of any proposed pan-South Asian “language area” into question.

In this panel, we hope to obtain an overview of present work in the field of language contact studies in South Asia, their respective theoretical and practical approaches, and the results of such studies, however preliminary these may be. Our objective is to create a forum for the exchange of ideas, methods and results among interested scholars, ranging from traditional historical linguistics and dialectology to computer-based statistical models, which will be of mutual benefit to all those participating in this field. Work dealing with all regions of the subcontinent is welcome, as is original documentational work, historically oriented studies, studies taking extralinguistic factors such as food, music, folktales, etc. (cf. Masica, 2001), etc. With questions concerning session 2, please contact John Peterson (University of Kiel, Germany) at

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